Nfld. & Labrador

Disappearing jobs: N.L. unemployment rate now 14.9%

The jobless rate in Newfoundland and Labrador is the highest in the country, and more than double the national rate.

Province lost 12,000 jobs over past year — a 'significant' number, says Statistics Canada

There are 2,200 fewer people working in the non-residential construction sector in Newfoundland and Labrador than there were a year ago, according to Statistics Canada. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

It's discouraging news for anyone seeking a job.

The unemployment rate in Newfoundland and Labrador climbed to 14.9 per cent from May to June, with the disappearance of 1,400 jobs.

That's according to the latest labour force numbers released Friday by Statistics Canada.

When you compare the job picture a year ago, it looks even worse. Nearly 12,000 fewer people are working than in June 2016.

The province's unemployment rate is well above the next highest — 10.2 per cent in Prince Edward Island — and more than double the national rate of 6.5 per cent.

Jobs are declining as megaprojects such as the Hebron oil platform finish up, but the manufacturing sector and education also took a hit.

Major regional employers, such as ExxonMobil's Hebron project at Bull Arm, wrapped in May, which could account for some of the job losses.

But the service sector — which covers everything from mechanics to hairstylists — reported a dip as well. There were also fewer jobs in the education sector and manufacturing. 

Andrew Fields, an analyst with Statistics Canada, said the June increase in the unemployment rate may not be statistically significant but the year-over-year increase is.

He said the biggest loss of jobs over the past 12 months has been in the construction of non-residential buildings and in wholesale businesses.

Statistics Canada said earlier this year that a significant number of jobs have been lost in the natural resources sector, including forestry, the fishery, mining and oil and gas.

Jobs are also disappearing from the public service, with the Newfoundland and Labrador government cutting 300 management jobs in advance of the 2017 budget.